Friends of the Desert
Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies Activity
Students hold a conference to learn how cooperation among nations might solve a
problem that affects much of Africa.
WHAT YOU NEED
WHAT TO DO
- Have students study a climate map of the desert regions of Africa: the
Sahara and Kalahari. Then have them use a political map to determine which
African nations are in those regions. Point out that the maps make it clear
that desertification, the process by which land becomes desert, is not limited
to one country. Encourage students to discuss how cooperation among the
countries they've listed might help fight desertification.
- Announce (and schedule) an upcoming Pan-African Conference on Desert Control
and Reclamation. Divide the class
into delegations, appointing two or more delegates to the conference from each
of the nations in the desert region. Before the conference
opens, each delegation is responsible for learning as much as it can about how
the desert is affecting its nation.
- Appoint a conference chairperson or fill the role yourself. When the
delegations come together as a conference, divide the group into committees to
study the list of topics and questions provided or a list of your own. Explain that
each committee, which should have members from several nations, is to produce a
report that suggests answers to the questions posed. The reports should include
ideas on positive steps African countries can take in cooperation with one
- Make the climax of the conference the presentation of the reports.
A committee of students can represent the host country for the conference. They
would be responsible for making a welcoming speech as well as a declaration of
the intent of the conference.
Before students divide into committees, have each nation reports on its own
efforts to work with the desert.
Have students write letters to the United Nations delegations for the countries
they represented and present them with a description of their conference and
the conclusions they came to.
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